By: Emily Hendrickson
Jesus so deeply identified with the hungry, the thirsty, the sick, the naked, the prisoner, and the stranger. He says, “When you consider them and their plight, imagine that it is actually Me you are serving.”
He also came to change their stories. To bring freedom to the prisoner, sight to the blind, and hope to the oppressed. When we step into their story, we reflect the heart of God.
From Rahab to Ruth to the Good Samaritan, the story of God has a place for the stranger, the foreigner, the outcast, the refugee. In fact, his story is often propelled by them. As Christians we are called to put the needs of others ahead of our own; to trade fear of the unknown for trust in the unseen; to suspend our doubts and rely on faith.
I had the opportunity to lead a team to the Greek/Macedonian border in December to work alongside The A21 Campaign in bringing relief to the refugees. The ongoing conflict in Syria has radically changed the lives of millions of refugees who have been displaced and left longing for safety, security, and a brighter future for their families.
Our team interacted with so many people and heard countless stories. We met Ali who lost his whole family in a mosque bombing in 2013. We met Ebi who had been beaten by the government and still had horrific physical wounds. We met a 17 year old boy who was traveling by himself. He had been recruited by ISIS and when he denied the recruitment, they beheaded his father. We met a woman with five children whose husband died on the journey across the Aegean Sea just days earlier. We met Rimos who had been kidnapped and beaten for many months.
Each story has been woven together into an enormous issue known to us as “The Syrian Refugee Crisis.” A crisis that seems overwhelming and unsolvable. We find ourselves frustrated or hopelessly wondering what we could possibly do to make a difference. But when we dissect the statistics into the individual stories, we discover opportunities for personal response.
Churches across Washington, D.C. are coming together through The Rising to respond. The A21 Campaign, founded by Christine Caine, has found a practical way to serve the refugees. They had the genius idea to transform shipping containers into water containers. Between transfer points and border crossings, Syrian refugees are exhausted, dehydrated and vulnerable. Through the water containers, the containers bring much needed relief, hope, and care. Refugees will go to the containers several times a day to stay hydrated, clean their clothes, and shower. An awesome feature of the containers is that they can be shipped to wherever the need is. We are coming together to raise $25,000 to fund a container.
60 million refugees. Every number has a name, every name has a story, and every story matters to God. This is an opportunity for us to be a part of someone’s story. Maybe you feel that your best efforts would only amount to a drop in a bucket. But if we all put a drop in the bucket, we could eventually fill the empty spaces.
For more information on The Rising/A-21 Campaign’s water container fundraiser click HERE.
Emily is the Weekend Experience Director at National Community Church in D.C. As someone driven by seeing life change, Emily is passionate about reflecting the purpose and personality of Jesus. You can usually find her tuned into ESPN or enjoying a competitive game of cornhole.
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